Judy Faulkner, the wealthy CEO and founder of Verona’s Epic Systems, had a tense exchange with former Vice President Joe Biden earlier this year, Politico reported last week.
Faulkner was among a group of health care technology executives who met with Biden in January for the Cancer Moonshot, a White House initiative to accelerate cancer research. Greg Simon, the current president of the Biden Cancer Initiative, told Politico that Faulkner raised questions about the utility of giving patients access their full medical records.
“Why do you want your medical records? They’re a thousand pages of which you understand 10,” she allegedly told Biden.
“None of your business,” Biden responded. “If I need to, I’ll find someone to explain them to me and, by the way, I will understand a lot more than you think I do.”
Simon added that the meeting "went downhill from there.”
The exchange apparently had to do with the 21st Century Cures Act, a medical research bill passed by Congress in December. The bill had a number of provisions related to the exchange of data between medical records systems, also known as interoperability. One provision set a goal for patients to get access to their records in a “single, longitudinal format” that would be “easy to understand.”
An Epic spokesperson later gave a statement to the trade publication Health Care IT News about the exchange between Faulkner and Biden. They said that the description of the conversation in Politico was "misleading and inaccurate."
"Vice President Joe Biden was consistently polite and positive to every person, including every vendor, in the meeting. Epic supports patients’ rights to access their entire record, something they have been able to do for decades," the statement said.
The spokesperson said that Faulkner was questioning the possible mandate for vendors to translate medical records into "easy to understand" language before releasing them to patients, saying it could be a barrier to accessing the records in the first place. Biden apparently agreed, and asked staff to work on coming up with a solution.
Epic, one of the biggest electronic medical records vendors in the world, has long been subject to criticism for its record on interoperability. Faulkner, however, has rejected those criticisms. "I don't think there's any system more open than we are," she told Healthcare IT News last year.
Biden plans to visit Madison this December as part of a tour for his new book,“Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose.”
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with a more extensive statement from Epic Systems.